Apple has today released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5; bringing support for AirTag, new features, security and privacy enhancements, and bug fixes.
Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users
Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5:
- The “turn pages while panning” feature of braille displays once again places the reader at the top of the next page when the page is turned.
- When starting a new conversation in the Messages app Using Braille Screen Input, VoiceOver once again speaks words deleted if deleting by word with two-finger swipe left.
- The button to install a HomePod software update is now accessible with VoiceOver.
- VoiceOver no longer incorrectly speaks Pause button as Play on the expanded mini player (or Now Playing screen) in Music app.
- The “More Info” button in the native Podcast app now once again works as expected.
- The Magic Tap gesture now works as expected in Apple News.
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any new bugs or regressions for blind and low vision users in these releases.
As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases. Accordingly, to help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5.
New Feature and Enhancement Highlights
iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 introduce a new “Unlock with Apple Watch"” feature that allows the iPhone to use an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch as a secondary authentication method; making it easier to unlock an iPhone when you're wearing a mask. When this feature is enabled in Settings > Face ID & Passcode, you will not need to take off your mask or enter a passcode to unlock your iPhone. Note that a full Face ID facial scan or a passcode will still be required to authenticate Apple Pay or App Store purchases.
Siri gains two new American English voice options, with the list of available voice options now numbered, rather than being described as male or female. Additionally, when setting up a new device, you will be prompted to select your preferred Siri voice rather than there being a default. The new Siri voices are also available to use with VoiceOver.
These updates add support for Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, which will require apps to ask for permission (through a standard iOS prompt) whenever they want to track your activities outside the app, such as across other apps or websites. It is also possible to disallow all apps from requesting to track on a system-wide basis by going to Settings> Privacy> Tracking> Allow Apps to Request to Track.
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 bring 217 new emojis. These include a heart on fire, exhaling face, and gender options for the people with beards. Also included is a vaccine-friendly syringe emoji, and support for couples with a mix of skin tones. Here's every new emoji.
iPad users will be pleased to hear that finding emojis has just gotten easier, as iPadOS 14.5 gains the search for emoji feature that was added to iPhone in iOS 14.
The first time you ask Siri to play music, a podcast, or an audiobook after installing these updates, you will be asked to select your preferred app from a list of those you have installed and which support this feature. Siri will remember your selection and will use that service whenever you ask it to play something. So, for example, if you select Spotify to play a song, the next time that you ask Siri to play a song you will not need to specify “on Spotify” to prevent iOS from defaulting to Apple Music. Note that Apple has clarified that this is not a "default" music service setting, and there is no toggle to select a service you want to continually use, but it is a feature where Siri will learn your preferences and adapt to them. Accordingly, Siri will occasionally re-ask for your preferred services to keep up to date.
The Find My app now has a “Items” tab, which shows the location of licensed item trackers and devices that use Apple’s new licensed location-tracking system.
You can now request Siri call emergency services. You’ll get a three-second countdown on the screen to cancel the request, after which Siri will call your local emergency services number.
When using Apple headphones that support “Hey Siri”, you now have the ability to respond to incoming calls by saying either “answer” or “decline”. The new option is part of the Announce Calls with Siri feature, and can be found under Settings > Phone > Announce Calls.
For an in-depth look at everything new and changed in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, we recommend this MacStories article.
iOS 14.5 Release Notes
Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch
- Ability to unlock your iPhone X and later with Apple Watch Series 3 and later when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
AirTag and Find My
- Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
- Precision Finding uses visual, audible, and haptic feedback to guide you directly to your nearby AirTag using Ultra Wideband provided by the U1 chip on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models
- AirTag can be located by playing a sound via the built-in speaker
- The Find My network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn't nearby
- Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted
- Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
- New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji
- Siri now includes more diverse voice options
- Incoming calls can be announced with Siri, including who is calling, when you're wearing your AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, and you can answer hands-free
- Group FaceTime calls are supported by asking Siri to FaceTime a list of contacts or a group name from Messages
- Emergency contacts can be called by asking Siri
- App Tracking Transparency lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers
- Share your favorite lyrics using Messages, Facebook, and Instagram Stories, and subscribers can play the snippet in Messages without leaving the conversation
- City charts showcase what's popular in over 100 cities from all over the world
- Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
- Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
- Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
- Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows
- Dual SIM support enables 5G connectivity on the line that's using cellular data on iPhone 12 models
- Smart Data Mode improvements further optimize your experience on 5G networks for better battery life and data usage on iPhone 12 models
- 5G international roaming enabled on supported carriers on iPhone 12 models
- Redesigned News+ tab enables Apple News+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
- All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories
- Accidents, hazards, or speed checks along your route can be reported by telling Siri on your iPhone or on CarPlay
- Estimated time of arrival (ETA) can be shared when cycling or walking, in addition to driving, by asking Siri or tapping on the route card at the bottom of the screen, then tapping Share ETA
- Ability to sort reminders by Title, Priority, Due Date, or Creation date
- Option to print your reminder lists
- Translation playback speed can be adjusted by long pressing the play button
- Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSense™ Wireless Controller support
- Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and devices
- ETA in Apple Maps can be easily shared while driving with new Siri or keyboard controls in CarPlay
This release also fixes the following issues:
- Messages at the bottom of the thread may be hidden by the keyboard under certain circumstances
- Deleted messages may still appear in Spotlight search
- Messages may persistently fail to send texts in some threads
- Mail would not load new emails for some users until restarting the device
- Call blocking and identification section may not appear in Phone settings
- iCloud Tabs may not appear in Safari
- iCloud Keychain could be prevented from turning off
- Reminders created via Siri may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
- Battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on iPhone 11 models to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users (https://support.apple.com/HT212247)
- Optimization to reduce the appearance of a dim glow that may appear at reduced brightness levels with black backgrounds on iPhone 12 models
- AirPods audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
- AirPods Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
How to update
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, or via iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier.
Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either locally or in iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.
More information on how to update the software on your device is available on this Apple Support page.
As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates. Do you like the new features and changes? Let us know by adding a comment below.